Visiting Page And Lake Powell In Arizona
After our tour of the National Parks in Utah, we headed south into Arizona. Our first stop was a stay in Page and Lake Powell.
Our crazy travel schedule through Utah meant we did not look ahead and book key reservations for things to do in Page and Lake Powell. And then we lost a full day to explore the area when we travelled to Phoenix to exchange our rental car.
We saw the Glen Canyon Dam from multiple perspectives. The Glen Canyon National Park was a great spot to get up close to Lake Powell. And on a day on the water, we explored the Navajo Canyon. We were excited to see Horseshoe Bend. But definitely very disappointed to not be able to book a tour to see Antelope Canyon. But it just means we need to come back to this region of Arizona.
Heading To Page, Arizona
When we drove to our hotel for our visit to Zion National Park, we ignored the GPS directions and had a very slow drive. When we picked our route to go from Virgin, Utah to Page and Lake Powell we again ignored the GPS routing.
We picked the more exciting rout that took us along Hwy 89A and up through the trees and into the mountains. We drove steadily up to about 8000’ altitude. At the Le Fevre Outlook, we got a view out over the Grand Staircase.
This route along 89A was the same route we followed when we visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then headed to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We passed the Navajo Bridge and got our first glimpse of the Colorado River.
We saw so much red rock on our tour of the Utah National Parks that we thought we were immune to the variations in rock colour and texture. But as we drove past the Vermillion Cliffs, we found new shades of pink and cream, dotted with green trees in the mountains around Page. We were sorry we never stopped to explore them more.
The Final Approach To Page
We left 89A and joined 89 to get into Page. Several viewpoints along this road gave us broad views of the valley and mountains in the distance. The gorge route that the Colorado River carved was visible.
The road went up the side of the mountain. Steep grade signs were posted. And then the road passed through the sharp-sided Antelope Pass. We clearly understood why there were so may “Watch For Rocks” signs. It was not “if” but “when”.
The drive was one of the fun parts of our stay in Page and Lake Powell in Arizona.
Checking Out The Glen Canyon Dam
We found several spots around Page to check out the Glen Canyon Dam. The first view we got right from the parking lot of our Courtyard Marriott hotel.
The scenic viewpoint off of Hwy 89 offered us our next glimpse of this massive dam. It was finished in 1964 creating the 186 mile long Lake Powell on the Colorado River. We could just see the dam from the parking level.
But a rough stone path led down to a viewpoint at a lower level. As we wandered around the site, we got our first but not last view of the fascinating rocks in the Page area. Flat, layered rock looked almost like slate. Wavy rock looked like flowing lava.
At the lower viewpoint there was an amazing view out to the Glen Canyon Dam. And down at the Colorado River far below. We saw boat tours heading to the dam. Or further down to Horseshoe Bend.
When we drove across the top of the dam, we stopped to get a closer look down the face of the 710 feet (220m) high dam. The Carl Hayden Visitor Center provided information about the dam and tours were available. It reminded us of the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River we visited on our trip to China.
When we headed into Glen Canyon National Park, we got a great view of the dam over the waters of Lake Powell.
A visit to the Glen Canyon Dam was definitely one of the things to do on a stay in Page and Lake Powell.
Getting To Horseshoe Bend
The Horseshoe Bend was high on our list of things to do in Page and Lake Powell. A little research confirmed that there were a few ways to visit. We could drive to the site just outside of Page and pay $10 for parking. Even though Horseshoe Bend was part of the Glen Canyon National Park area, it was not covered by our National Park pass.
There were shuttles in town to take you out. Or many of the tour companies stopped at Horseshoe Bend. You could also rent a boat or take a boat tour down at water level. We saw many of the boats during our visit.
But we decided to drive and park. When we arrived, we were reminded to take water and that the walk was about 20 minutes each way. That in no way prepared us for what was a bit of a hike to get to Horseshoe Bend.
Hike Out To See Horseshoe Bend
The initial climb brought us to a gentle walk down to an upper viewpoint. We were sure that many people never made it past here.
From here there was a switchback path that led down to the side of the canyon. A new path was under construction to make the path wheelchair friendly. The walk down was ok although I was often not sure whether the loose sand or shiny stone was better to walk on.
The walk down was definitely worth it. Our first view of the bend in the Colorado River was stunning. We moved from viewpoint to viewpoint and checked out the light and the shadows. People vied to get closer and closer to the edge for selfies. It was not surprising to learn that there were several deaths a year at this spot.
When we looked far down the rock face, we got a look at the Colorado River as it snaked around the horseshoe. There were boats on the water taking in the view from another perspective.
The rocks around the site were the same fascinating ones we first saw when we visited the Glen Canyon Dam. Overlapping smooth plates rippled around the site. There was one large rock formation that provided a little shade when we needed a break from the sun.
The walk back up was a bit tougher than I expected as the sun beat down on my head. There were a few spots to stop and one shaded place to rest. But I made it to the top. However, it took much longer to walk up than down.
We were so glad we made the effort to see the Horseshoe Bend. Certainly one of the things to do on a stay in Page and Lake Powell that we would highly recommend. But be prepared for the walk.
Drive Around Lake Powell
The 186 mile long Lake Powell called to us. We started with a panoramic view over the lake from the Wahweap Overlook. Below us we saw the lake, the marina and the dam.
When we entered Glen Canyon National Park, we headed for the marina to get a view of the lake from the water. Leaving the park, we drove along Lakeshore Drive and stopped at several spots for views out over the lake and the dam.
We saw only a small part of Glen Canyon National Park. But the park was a great place for views of Lake Powell. Plan this as one of the things to do on a visit to Page and Lake Powell.
Get On The Water To Navajo Canyon
The views of Lake Powell left us wanting to get out on the water. On our way out of Page, we stopped at the Antelope Point Marina. No water tours met our schedule. But we were delighted to rent a speed boat for a few hours.
We took the speed boat into Navajo Canyon. The Sandstone rock formations towered 600’ above our heads. In places, the sandstone seemed to be carved with pictures. We did not make it to the end of the Navajo Canyon waterway and into the actual slot canyon. But we did get to nose our way into a narrow crevice.
Getting out on the water was one of the fun things to do when we stayed in Page and Lake Powell. A few hours just gave us a small taste test. We will definitely return and spend more time exploring the waterways around Lake Powell.
Not Every Day Is A Great Travel Day
When we picked up our rental car, we got an upgrade. We rented intermediate SUVs on our road trips in 2019 because we are looking to replace our car with an SUV. But the upgrade got us a much bigger GMC Terrain SUV. After a few days, we went back and exchanged this for the smaller Subaru Outback.
The Outback was great. It was tough enough to take us on the dirt roads through the Utah National Parks. Even if we took an off-road jeep tour when we really wanted a much wilder ride. When we passed a truck on the highway, we picked up a small stone chip. That did not worry us. But then the chip quickly turned into a 3 foot long crack in the windshield.
We spent awhile on the phone with American Express about insurance. When we paid for our rental on our credit card it included car rental insurance. And then spent more time with Hertz talking about options to get the SUV exchanged.
There was no full service Hertz location until the Phoenix Airport. The options for towing the car from Page to Phoenix and / or sending a replacement car to Page were really expensive. If the insurance refused to pay these costs since the SUV was drivable, it would be a huge cost to us (over $3000 USD).
So we decided to take a day off and did the 11 hour round-trip drive to the Phoenix airport to exchange the SUV. The gas cost was minimal compared to the “exchange service” we were offered. And we lost a full day. Unfortunately this meant we missed some of the things to do on a visit to Page and Lake Powell.
It was good to remember that not every travel day will be a good travel day. And that insurance was vital. Things will happen when you do the kind of travelling we did on our fall trip to Utah and Arizona.
But we did finish our day with an amazing sunset after we relaxed at our hotel. So the day was not totally a waste!
We Enjoyed The Things To Do In Page And Lake Powell In Arizona
We definitely enjoyed the things to do in Page and Lake Powell on this first stop of our visit to Arizona. Horseshoe Bend was a sight we could not miss. Lake Powell drew us in to the water and the dam. A boat ride to Navajo Canyon on Lake Powell was the perfect way to end our visit.
A full day lost to car problems meant we did not get as much time on our stay in the Page and Lake Powell area as we wanted. We wished we had stopped at the Vermillion Cliffs. We later learned that these are not just more red cliffs. But were in fact interesting wavy cliffs with variegated colouring.
A trip up Lake Powell to see the Rainbow Bridge would have been a stunning addition to the rock arches we saw in Arches National Park. The closest we got was when we saw it depicted in a piece of street art.
There were a limited number of tour operators allowed to visit Antelope Canyon. We did not book early enough to get a tour while we were there. All of this just means there are great things to do in Page and Lake Powell that will bring us back to Arizona!
We were excited to be headed to Sedona for the next stop on our tour of Utah and Arizona.
Did you find fun things to do on a stay in Page and Lake Powell In Arizona? What should we see on a return visit?
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What a fantastic trip you guys had! I’ve not been to Arizona when in the US, and seeing Horsehoe Bend is absolutely something I want to see. I got a little sweaty palms from looking at your photos of the dam from above and those slippery sloping curves in the mountains. It’s great they remind visitors to bring water; that hike, though short, doesn’t look forgiving in hot temperatures!
Lisa, We originally did not plan to visit this area. And we were so glad we added it into our road trip. Definitely a spot to visit. So many great spots. Linda
You are teasing me again with Arizona, I am so going to try and make this the next state to visit in the States. I would love to take a trip out on Lake Powell espeically if it was the warm summer months. That does look refreshing and the views wonderful. One of my dream places to visit in the state is Horseshoe Bend, this natural landmark looks totally amazing and must be fantastic to look at when looking at it from above. One day I will get there.
Danik, I am happy to be teasing you about Arizona. We loved it much more than we expected to. So may great natural sites. And you will love the hiking. Linda
The Southwest United States really is one of the most beautiful areas, and I don’t think you can ever get too much of that amazing red rock! I’ve been to horseshoe, but didn’t get to explore much of Page, I will have to return to do all of these amazing things. The speed boat trip in the canyon looked like a great excursion for a more intimate look at the area.
Susanna, Our visit to Page was shortened by car troubles. But we loved everything we did get to experience. It is definitely a spot we will return to. Linda
Wow, the wild west is so beautiful! That is the adventure place that we are planning to go with a RV. The Horseshoebend is awesome!
Mijia, Arizona is a wonderful spot to explore by RV. I hope you get to visit. Horseshoe Bend was definitely worth the visit to Page and Lake Powell. Linda
The view at the Glen Canyon Dam Looks so picturesque. I’ve never been to Arizona but it looks like I imagined it to. I’m not sure I’d be taking pictures lying down over the edge like yours though!
David, We were so glad we visited this part of Arizona. So many great things to see. Linda
This was such a fantastic trip for you. Good to know they are making the paths wheelchair friendly. I think sandy paths give a cushioning effect to our feet compared to hard surfaces. Whao that view! I would be a little frightened of that spot and you have mentioned there have been deaths. I wish they will some kind of protection around there for photographers.
Indrani, The walk out to the Horseshoe Bend was definitely worth it. But I was very careful when we got close to the ledge. A careful balance between getting great views and being safe. Linda
One of the key reasons I want to visit USA are the parks of Arizona and around. The horseshoe bend has always fascinated me. I love the textures that you have captured along the way. Lake Powell is a perfect sight after all that red. Loved the travel suggestions that you have given based on your experience. Cheers
Ami, We would definitely recommend a trip to Arizona. There are so many fascinating sights to see. The rocks were continually fascinating. Linda
It’s been years since we visited Lake Powell. We rented a houseboat with friends. They had jet skis and water skis. It was so much fun! Plus just being in the canyons and seeing all the different colors among the sediment layers was spectacular. We never made it to the dam or Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe Bend is high on my list, so hopefully we’ll make it out there this year.
Debra, We were amazed at how much we found to do in the Page area. Next time we visit we definitely want to rent a houseboat. That looked like so much fun. Linda
it is quite a spectacle of nature, isn’t it? One could spend hours staring at the rock formations and marvelling at the geological wonders around. You have some wonderful pictures that do justice of the majesty of the region. Can’t wait to go see for myself.
I hope you do get to visit the Page and Lake Powell area. There was so much more there than we expected to find. Linda
Sometimes the best ways to take a road trip is with the GPS turned off! I’m always amazed at how different “plain ol rock” can be in different areas – seeing all of the colors and the way the wind has shaped the landscape shows just how beautiful it can be. I’m sorry to hear of your ‘lost day’ and agree that not every travel day will be perfect, but I would agree that it sounds like was the best (and less expensive) solution to the car situation.
Cynthia, We were amazed that we never got tired of looking at rocks. Even after touring Utah and Arizona for 4 weeks. Loved the variety we found the in the Page and Lake Powell area. Linda
Omg your post is giving us so much wanderlust!! We did a few roadtrips in Utah, California and Nevada a few tears ago to visit some national and state parks and absolutely loved it! Last year, I also spent a few days in Phoenix,AZ to attend my nephew’s graduation ceremony but didn’t have time to travel around Arizona. But will definitely return to explore more.
Mei and Kerstin, I am glad this post will tease you to return to Utah and Arizona. We did love our stay. Linda
I’ve been seeing so much about Horseshoe Bend lately, but never that much about all the other amazing scenery nearby. I appreciate this thorough guide and all of your pictures! I hadn’t heard that several people die there each year, but sadly it isn’t surprising. Your pictures of the people getting photos gave me chills!
I am glad that this blog post showed you some of the other amazing spots to see and do in the Page and Lake Powell area. Linda
I did a quick American Southwest road trip a few years ago and this brings back such fond memories! My trip was a bit too rushed though and I wish I’d seen both North and South Rims of Grand Canyon. Renting a speed boat looks and sounds super fun too. Bummer about your rental car incident, but I guess this just means you gotta revisit again in the future 😉
Jas, I am so happy this blog post brought back good memories. It certainly created awesome ones for us. We will definitely go back to see more. Linda
Who would have thought there are so many beautiful and wonderful places. Your photos are gorgeous! I’m impressed, this is a wonderful place! Thanks for sharing.
Victoria, Thanks for the comments on our photos. We definitely had a most photogenic spot to enjoy. Linda